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Berachot Over Rice and Rice Products

The Gemara speaks of a product called "Orez," which is understood by most commentators as a reference to rice. Although there are some who disagree, the prevalent view – as well as that of the Shulhan Aruch – is that "Orez" refers to rice. Following the Gemara’s ruling, the Shulhan Aruch writes (Orah Haim 208:6) that if one eats raw rice, he recites "Ha’adama," whereas rice that is cooked requires the Beracha of "Mezonot." Although it is not one of the principal grains, nevertheless, it is eaten for satiation like principal grains, and so it requires the same Beracha, "Mezonot." The Rama (Rav Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1530-1572) writes that the rice must be cooked to the point where it is soft and capable of being mashed in order to require the Beracha of "Mezonot," but the Shulhan Aruch makes no mention of such a condition. Therefore, any cooked rice requires the Beracha of "Mezonot."

Practically speaking, then, puffed rice, which is not cooked, requires the Beracha of "Ha’adama." Likewise, rice cakes, which are made from rice which was puffed, but not cooked, also require "Ha’adama."

Baked products made from rice flour require "Mezonot" just like cooked rice. Therefore, over Rice Krispies, which are made from rice flour, one recites "Mezonot."

Although one recites "Mezonot" over cooked rice, after eating, one recites "Boreh Nefashot," and not "Al Ha’mihya." A way to remember this Halacha is by thinking of the word "Amen" as an acrostic for the phrase, "Orez Mezonot Nefashot."

Hacham Ovadia Yosef ruled that if one mistakenly recited "Ha’adama" over cooked rice, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and does not then recite "Mezonot." Likewise, if one mistakenly recited "Al Ha’mihya" after eating cooked rice, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and does not then recite "Boreh Nefashot."

Although cooked rice requires "Mezonot," it is not treated like other "Mezonot" foods with regard to its status when mixed with other foods. Other "Mezonot" foods are considered the primary component of a mixture even if they comprise the minority, such that the Beracha over the mixture is "Mezonot." This is not the case with respect to rice. Therefore, if rice is mixed with other foods, the Beracha is determined by the majority ingredient. A common application of this Halacha is sushi, which includes rice with some other ingredient in the middle. One must try to determine whether or not the rice constitutes the majority, in which case the Beracha is "Mezonot." If there is fish inside the sushi, and the fish constitutes the majority, then the Beracha is "She’ha’kol." If there is avocado in the middle which constitutes the majority, then the Beracha is "Ha’etz." If one cannot make this assessment, then he should recite the relevant Berachot on other foods having in mind for his Berachot to cover the sushi.

Summary: One who eats uncooked rice, or products made from uncooked rice – such as puffed rice or rice cakes – recites "Ha’adama," whereas one who eats cooked rice, or products made from rice flour, such as Rice Krispies, recites "Mezonot." After eating even cooked rice, however, one recites "Boreh Nefashot," and not "Al Ha’mihya." If one mistakenly recited "Ha’adama" over cooked rice, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and does not then recite "Mezonot." Likewise, if one mistakenly recited "Al Ha’mihya" after eating cooked rice, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and does not then recite "Boreh Nefashot."

 


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